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November 27, 1987 - Image 124

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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said. "I had friends who
helped me write the paper. At
the time the only alternative
papers were the Detroit Shop-
ping News and the Northwest
Detroiter. I was 17 and found
I couldn't major in journalism
and meet publishing
deadlines at the same time, so
I dropped out of Wayne. I tried
everything to remain in
school, even tried Monteith
for awhile, but my main focus
was publishing.
"One thing that has been
consistent with my work is a
need for community and uni-
ty. In the '60s you had the
politicos on one hand and the
freaks and artists on the
other. The same building
housed the Detroit Commit-
tee to Stop the War in Viet-
nam and John Sinclair's Ar-
tists' Workshop. The freaks
wouldn't be political, and the
politicos wouldn't do drugs,"
he said.
So the Fifth Estate became
a vehicle for the two grouups
to listen to each other and
pass along information.
"Mainly,' Ovshinsky laughed,
"it became my new club for
the '60s. We believed, it, we
experienced it, we thought it
would never end."
'Ibday Ovshinsky continues
to write and tell his stories,
but in a diversity of ways. He
writes scripts, produces
documentaries and gives two-
minute commentaries each
weekday on WCSX-FM,
discussing politics, family life,
Detroit culture and whatever
else he is feeling strongly
about at the time.
The Detroit News has term-
ed Ovshinsky "one of the
country's finest storytellers."
His Movie of the Week script,
RI and the Dragon, is current-
ly optioned to Longbow Pro-
ductions in Los Angeles and
a treatment for a television
mini-series has been optioned
by Lorimar Telepictures. Ov-
shinsky has several other
scripts in various stages of
development.
In the early '70s he was
news director at progressive
rock radio station WABX-FM
and also hosted the popular
call-in talk shows Night Call
and Spare Change on WXYZ-
FM and WRIF-FM.
Ovshinsky recently return-
ed to Channel 56 after a
year's leave of absence. As
director of program produc-
tion there; he supervised all
local and national produc-
tions. He received a national
Emmy nomination and seven
local Emmy Awards for
documentaries he produced at
Channels 4 and 7. He is the
recipient of an Ohio State
Award, medals from the Inter-
national Film and TV
.Festival of New York, as well

Ovshinsky returns to his "office" to do some film editing.

as of state, regional and na-
tional UPI awards.
Among his award winning
films are: Landgrab — the
Taking of Poletown, The Peo-
ple Next Door, A Gift for
Serena, Christmas in Crisis,
The Deer Hunters, City
Nights, Lay-Off and Visions in
Bubblegum, Canvas and
Stone with LeVar Burton.
His current producing ar-
rangement is a co-production
agreement between Channel
56 and 4. He will produce
documentaries utilizing
Channel 4 facilities and pro-
duction crews, the same
talent with whom he worked
during his years at that
station.
Ovshinsky said he enjoys
producing documentaries
because "there are stories
that don't fit into a two-
minute radio spot and that
don't fit into a two-hour
movie:'
He has "written" a
Chanukah story about the lit-
tlest Maccabee which he tells
to his children Natasha and
Noah's classmates each year,
but that story is not yet com-
mitted to paper except in
outline form.
This year at Rosh
Hashanah Ovshinsky
discussed his feelings for this
holiday as a time of
reassessments and new
beginnings during one of his
radio commentaries. Another
dealt with the need for a
mensch to run for President.
He views such discussions
about things Jewish as a
means of public service in
educating others about
Judaism.
Additionally, Ovshinsky
teaches two courses at Cran-
brook PM, the popular adult
education series at the Cran-
brook Educational Facility in
Bloomfield Hills. One class is
a weekend seminar on screen-

writing, the other is a class on
how to think like a producer.
"The producer is a problem
solver," Ovshinsky said.
"Cameras and lights are im-
portant, but the most impor-
tant tool is the producer's
brain."
As an independent writer
and producer Ovshinsky
fulfills his dual need to write
and to control the finished
product. He is committed to
Detroit and lives with his
wife, Catherine Kurek Ov-
shinsky, a clinical specialist
in psychiatric nursing, and
children in Lafayette Park.
"The essence of storytelling
is drama, conflict and ten-
sion," he said. "Detroit is a
candy store loaded with
stories. The stories are here,
the production crews are here,
all the talent is here to make
movies in Detroit, which is
something I'd eventually like
to do. I'm very happy living in
Detroit and telling my
stories."
Ovshinsky, who will turn 40
in April, says that the produc-
ing end of himself protects
him as a writer and the
writing end of himself gives
him something to produce.
"I have finally come to ac-
cept my fate . . . that I can
write in a variety of formats.
In the past I had been afraid.
It's hard to tell the truth. It's
been easy for me to write. But
you can't really separate the
two. Now I've decided to tell
the truth . . . most of the
time."
"A writer's problem does
not change. He himself
changes and the world he
lives in changes but his pro-
blem remains the same. It is
always how to write truly
and, having found what is
true, to project it in such a
way that it becomes a part of
the experience of the person
who reads it." Ernest Hem-
ingway.



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